Grape harvest underway

The grape harvest is underway in the Kelowna, and it looks to be off to a promising start.

The hot days and cool nights of this past summer have made for a healthy crop, and have allowed the grapes to keep their ripeness and acidity.

“Right now, the reports say that the bunches look very healthy, maybe a little stronger than last year,” says Miles Prodan, CEO of the BC Wine Institute. “Here in Kelowna, generally there are white grapes, and right now we’re growing those grapes that go into making sparkly drinks, or as the French call it: champagne.”

There has been some concern that the heavy smoke that we saw in recent months could affect the quality of the grapes, according to a recent UBCO study. While Prodan says that likely won't be a major concern this year, he says the smoke did hamper other areas of the wine industry.

“It did affect tourism to wineries in the Okanagan,” says Prodan. “Unfortunately, there were quite a few tourists who either cancelled their trips or just didn’t bother coming to the Okanagan just because of the smoke, and that really is detrimental to the wineries.”

Last year's grape harvest in Kelowna yielded a haul of 35,000 tonnes. Numbers for this year's harvest are due sometime later in the fall.

The Okanagan is Canada's second largest wine producer, boasting more than 200 vineyards and 120 wineries.